Letters to the editor logo

Iowans’ healthcare, social security are truly on the ballot

Over 16% of Iowa’s population is aged 65-plus, and nearly 30% are 55-plus. Maybe this is you. Maybe this is your parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. These Iowans hold important places in our hearts and society, and they have so much at stake in the coming November election.

In Iowa, the pandemic has been particularly dangerous for our seniors. Iowans 61 years and older make up 89% of the COVID-19 fatalities. While Donald Trump might dismiss this as “virtually nobody”, Iowans understand that every lost soul left behind family, loved ones, and friends. There’s a reason America has over 25% percent of the world’s coronavirus cases but only 4% of the world’s population. There’s a reason millions of Americans won’t be able to gather with family for the coming holidays. This reason is a failure from the top from day one.

When President Obama and Vice President Biden left office in 2017, America had advance teams working around the globe to track and prevent outbreaks and a detailed pandemic playbook should the unthinkable happen. Upon taking office, President Trump disbanded many of our advance teams as a cost-saving measure, discarded the playbook, and failed to fill critical vacant positions within the public health sectors of our government. America then learned through renowned journalist Bob Woodward that Trump knew about the severity of the coronavirus, while downplaying it to the public for months. Presently, over 200,000 Americans have died, and we still do not have a consistent message, testing plan, or strategy from the White House.

Iowan’s seniors are also struggling over the uncertainty of Social Security. Every single one of Trump’s budget proposals called for steep cuts to Social Security. Iowa’s own Sen. Joni Ernst has called for cutting Social Security “behind closed doors” and away from public scrutiny. Trump proposed cutting the very funding source of Social Security as a temporary relief effort, and has proposed making those cuts permanent. This action would effectively bankrupt Social Security’s retirement funds by 2023, Disability Insurance by mid-2021, and Survivors Insurance by 2023, according to the Social Security Administration’s chief actuary. In contrast, Joe Biden’s released plan calls for expanding benefits paid for by increasing the payroll tax cap on earners making over $400,000 per year. This is an earned promise, and deserves to be fought for.

The 2020 election is going to affect every American, Iowa’s seniors especially. This November please vote for science, vote for compassion, and vote for leadership. Social Security is on the ballot. Your healthcare and your very health are on the ballot.

Andrew Kelley,Clinton